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Wednesday 30 September 2020

Fawkes Teaboy Admits Press Links

If your blog, or group blog, was accused of being part of the press establishment, and the accusations had been made ever since you had a tenth anniversary celebration and rather a lot of that press establishment just happened to be invited, how would you dispel those accusations? What would a sensible person have done to show that their group blog was still an independent free spirit? What would Nietzsche have done?

What time is it Eccles?

Well, Nietzsche would not have been so totally intercoursing stupid as to not only admit being part of the press establishment, but brag about it openly. But the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog are not Nietzsche. And their replacement teaboy Tom Harwood probably hasn’t even heard of him.

It was Harwood who penned the highly unfortunate giveaway post titled “Thornberry Complains To Government Over Guido”, going on to describe “Thornberry’s Anti-Press Complaint”. Was this one and the same complaint being described? Apparently it was.

Readers not yet asleep are told “The ongoing spat between Emily Thornberry and Liz Truss has turned up a notch as Guido can reveal the Shadow Trade Secretary complained to the Government over the airing earlier in the month of a letter sent to her office from Whitehall highlighting the hypocrisy of Thornberry’s one-sided transparency drive”.

There was more. “Guido now learns Emily actively complained about the leak, despite her own correspondence having mysteriously ended up in the press before”. And The Great Guido has Ms Truss’ response, although it was probably written by someone more in touch with reality. This is the relevant passage from that reply.

Independent. But not of reality

You complain that the Guido Fawkes website published the letter from Graham Stuart. It is entirely appropriate that such debates on transparency issues are able to be reported by the independent free press - not least given you have previously had no hesitation in unilaterally releasing your correspondence to me to the press”. Self own city!

The Fawkes blog is not a press outlet - or is it? From Harwood’s brain-unplugged self-own, it seems he thinks it is. Moreover, Ms Truss, a Government minister, thinks it is, too. That’s a long way from Staines claiming that his people were independent, and they had the freedom to kick a few chairs over, metaphorically speaking, from time to time.

New boss same as the old boss, eh Paul?

Small wonder there was no complaint, no legal threat, when I pitched the idea that Staines’ real boss was Rebekah Brooks. It’s taken six years from that 10th anniversary bash for one of his gofers to admit what everyone else knew all along.

Independent group blog lets the world know it isn’t. Another fine mess, once again.

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Tory Members Racist No Shock Horror

The Tory Party’s attitude to those calling it out for racist bigotry has, regretfully, usually fallen short of fessing up and saying sorry. And doing anything about the bigotry has been out of the question. That includes the dabbling in anti-Semitism practiced by a number of senior Tory MPs. So when Hope Not Hate polled Tory members about their attitudes to Muslims, they should not have been surprised to uncover some serious prejudice.

After all, HnH carried out a poll last year on Islamophobia in the Tory Party: carried out by YouGov, it revealed that the answer to the question “Is there a problem of Islamophobia or racism towards Muslims in the Conservative Party?” was 79% “No”, with only 8% of those members polled admitting there was. What happened in the wake of that poll was worse.

As HnH told at the time, “After this poll was released, Prime Minister Theresa May responded by turning questions about the poll into a political attack on the Labour Party. Leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt has given a vague commitment to an inquiry into ‘all forms of prejudice’ and the frontrunner for the Conservative leadership, Boris Johnson, reneged on his previous commitment to act”. Straightforward head-in-sand denial.

What is worse this time round - HnH have once again commissioned YouGov to poll another sample of Tory members - is that, among supporters of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the state of denial is worse. For instance, “79% believe that there is no problem, just 9% think there is. Among Johnson supporters this grew to 86% and fell to 4% respectively”. And there was more in the same vein.

Only one in six party members (17%) felt that the Conservative Party should be doing more to combat Islamophobia and other racism within the party, compared to 74% who believed that the party was already doing all it reasonably can. Johnson supporters split 8% and 85% respectively”. A party leader who has previously compared Muslim women to “letter boxes” and “bank robbers” has a more bigoted support base? Who knew?

HnH also demonstrate that when Bozo told “What we do in the Tory party is when anybody is guilty of any kind of prejudice or discrimination against another group then they’re out first bounce”, he was, once again, talking well, but lying badly. This merely underscores what social media sleuths like the Tweeter called Mates Jacob had already discovered.

Worse still, as the Guardian reported last December, the Tories appointed Swaran Singh to chair their Inquiry into Islamophobia. He is a contributor to Spiked, whose editor Brendan O’Neill has said “Islamophobia is a recently invented term that is mainly designed to shut down critical discussion about Islam”. O’Neill was once again lying: Islamophobia was first attested in the English language in 1923 - almost a Century ago.

Small wonder that those in the Tory Party like Sayeeda Warsi, and those outside it, like Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain, have so little faith in the Tories’ ability to tackle, far less root out, prejudice. After all, if senior ministers can dabble in anti-Semitism, and the Prime Minister can sound the Islamophobic dog whistle, why should ordinary members feel constrained by any sense of principle or decency?

The Conservative Party is a racist endeavour. I’ll just leave that one there.

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Guido Broaches The Dyke

For some commentators, the dead cat punted by chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings last weekend - a suggestion that former Telegraph editor Charles Moore was to become BBC Chair and that the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre was to head Ofcom - was transparent drivel, yet another diversion from the Tories’ aimless shambles on the Coronavirus pandemic, Brexit, and indeed anything else they touched.

Guido who?

But for many out there on the right, the idea is a serious one, so serious that they are still prepared to defend two individuals who have precisely zero experience of the broadcast and wider telecoms industry. In the case of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, this means smearing those previously at the top of the Beeb and Ofcom, whom they claim to have been Labour Party stooges.

Sadly for new Fawkes apprentice sandwich monitor Christian Calgie, who had brought forth the smear, his ignorance and mendacity is all that emerges intact. Even the title of the post - How Labour Has Packed Quangos Including The BBC And Ofcom For Decades - is wrong. The BBC is not a Quango. Then we arrive at the attack on former BBC DG Greg Dyke. The suggestion is that he got the job because he backed Labour.

This is total horseshit. Dyke was, at the time of his appointment, a 22-year veteran of the broadcasting industry. He had helped turn round TV-am, which prior to his arrival had been a ratings basket case, had been director of programmes for TVS and LWT, where he helped the broadcaster win a franchise renewal. He later served as CEO of LWT. He helped overhaul GMTV and was the first chairman of Channel 5.

Now taking orders for his daily trip to Pret

Moreover, Dyke was a hugely popular Director General. He had the track record to back up his selection, which Moore and Dacre would not. Then Calgie turns his pop-gun, sorry, fire on Gavyn Davies, describing him as “BBC Chair 2001-4 … Labour Member”. What got missed was (a) that Davies resigned his membership on joining the BBC board, and (b) that he had been an economic advisor to the 1992-7 Tory Government.

Could there be more dishonesty in store? You betcha, says Sarah: Ed Richards, who headed Ofcom from 2006 to 2014, gets it in the neck because he had been an advisor to both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. What The Great Guido manages not to tell readers is that before those roles, Richards was the BBC’s head of corporate strategy. Thus he had experience in the broadcast sector - in the area which would qualify him to lead Ofcom.

But that is not the intention of this cheap and mendacious smear: what the Fawkes massive wants to do is to pretend that this is just a Labour versus Tory thing. It is not. Those smeared were all qualified to do the jobs to which they were appointed. Charles Moore and Paul Dacre would have one qualification between them: their ability to whine incessantly about the BBC, while being totally ignorant of the broadcast industry.

And, as this blog has pointed out more than once in the past, ignorance is not a merit badge. The only reason Moore and Dacre were punted as choices of BBC Chairman and Ofcom CEO was because they want to either do away with the BBC, or refashion it so it produces news and other output that panders to their tastes - and prejudices.

Charles Moore and Paul Dacre are not credible candidates. That is all.

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Tuesday 29 September 2020

Uber’s Pyrrhic Victory

When driver and rider matching service Uber arrived in London, there was so much talk of “disruptive technology”, as well as rather too much grovelling before the company’s deeply unpleasant CEO Travis Kalanick, and a ridiculous amount of attention given to the suggestion that it would mean lower private hire fares forever. Meanwhile, no-one gave any thought to the economics, despite the colossal losses Uber was racking up.

The economics are still not getting the attention they should be: as Sky News told yesterday, “Uber can continue operating in London after it won an appeal over a decision to take away its licence due to safety concerns. A judge ruled that the company is ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence despite ‘historical failings’”. And those failings were?

Transport for London (TfL) had in November rejected Uber's application to continue trading, pointing to ‘breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk’ … The firm was allowed to continue operating while it appealed against the decision”. Uber’s failings have been covered by Zelo Street many times (see HERE for example).

The politician who courted the taxi trade ...

What we also know is that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, when he was London’s very occasional Mayor, suggested that Uber and its drivers should be held to the same standards as other Private Hire drivers and then backed down very soon afterwards - most likely after being leaned on by his pals in Downing Street.

But now, assurances have been given, and the Uber genie has once more been released from its bottle, to the renewed joy of all those out there on the right who for some reason despise the Black Cab trade for reasons that they never manage to pony up consistently. That trade has taken a hammering in the meantime. But so has Uber.

As the Guardian reported in February, “Uber announced a loss of $1.1bn for the last three months of 2019, less than analysts had expected, but still bringing losses for the full year to $8.5bn. Revenues climbed 37% to $4bn”. Losing $1.1 billion on revenue of $4 billion. And that’s a good quarter. One quarter later, it was a lot worse.

The Verge told readers in May “Uber lost $2.9 billion in the first quarter of 2020, its biggest loss in three quarters. The company also reported $3.54 billion in revenue”. Any worse and losses are going to be close to equalling revenue. The reality is that the Uber model hasn’t worked, isn’t working, and is highly unlikely to work any time soon.

... and then sold them down the river

Using driverless cars was supposed to reduce costs further, but they don’t work, and are unlikely to work unless cars and other vehicles with drivers are removed from the roads. As one Tweeter put it, “By the time Uber is reduced to a food delivery company it's quite possible they will have burned 30 billion dollars. The pyramid scheme industry was ripe for disruption and Travis Kalanick really did it”. But it is no laughing matter.

As the biddable politicians stroll off into well-paid sinecures and Uber’s right-wing cheerleaders sneer as they hail the news in London yesterday, the Black Cab trade - the people who really know the capital - have been badly let down. They, like all the little people, won’t get any recompense, far less an explanation or apology.

Disruptive technology means a few get rich - while the majority get screwed over.

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Twitter CENSORS Allison Pearson

While many will shrug and hunker down to life with a few more restrictions, as the second wave of Coronavirus infections threatens to get out of hand, there is a persistent and vocal fringe wanting to believe that it’s not really happening. And at the forefront of that fringe is the increasingly wayward Allison Pearson, still given a berth by the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph. She’s a pundit on a national title, so she’s right.

Her problem is that she is not just searching for anything that suits her agenda and then touting it as fact, she’s also appallingly inconsistent. Last week she was happy that her son, who is at University, had become infected with Covid-19, and that others he knew had also caught the virus. This was the way to achieve “community immunity”, she declared.

Now, she’s echoing Brexit Party chair Richard Tice, who has claimed “Uni Student anger rising sharply against aggressive lockdown measures imposed incl huge fines. Hearing shocking stories, students really angry at their Unis. They were encouraged to return by Unis who are desperate for their fees. So wrong, so unnecessary. Parents furious too”. Yes, “Very much this. Boy, are parents furious”. So she’s no longer happy.

Ms Pearson is also worryingly incautious, happily RTing more than one pronouncement from a Tweeter called “Wokeman”. Why is this incautious? Well, apart from the fringe #KBF (Keep Britain Free) hashtag - very Trafalgar Square demo, that one - this Tweeter also displays the racist ALM (All Lives Matter) badge. But has put forward a claim that counters the scientific narrative coming from the Government, so that’s all right, then.

So busy is Ms Pearson telling everyone it’s not happening, she has failed to read what her own paper is putting out. So those seeing her RTing Tice once more, this time claiming “Good news [Boris Johnson] [Matt Hancock] cases falling consistently in U.K. over last 4 days, over 40% down … [UK Science Chief] looking woefully pessimistic on his ‘7 day doubling horror’ chart … Why no Govt minister or MPs talking about this encouraging news?” then looking at today’s Tel front page may stop and think.

After all, the Tel is saying that the 7-day average for Covid-19 infections shows a +47% change. That’s not “falling consistently”, and it certainly isn’t “Good news”. Weekends always show smaller numbers, and have done since March. But Ms Pearson’s biggest worry is that her output has proved too batshit even for Twitter.

And, as a blue tick account, you’ve got to put out something seriously batshit to get it deleted. But as Alex Tiffin has discovered, her Tweet telling that she wanted students to become infected with Covid-19 has been canned: “Twitter actually removed Allison Pearson's tweet about WANTING students to catch COVID-19 so we can get ‘Community immunity’ … Oh she'll not be happy”. Will she take the hint? Probably not.

The reputation of the Tel takes another knock: a columnist so wacko that she’s RTing a racist bigot, and then having her Tweets removed for breaking the Ts and Cs.

There’s mileage in contrarianism. But not as much as some pundits would like.

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Monday 28 September 2020

The President Is Stony Broke

Would all those first time Tory voters have been quite so eager to vote for alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson if they had known that, less than a year later, he would be pleading poverty and claiming that he was unable to live on £160,000 a year? Maybe some of them still would: after all, there are plenty of voters Stateside still willing to back Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, despite him being rather worse off.

Donald, where's yer tax-deductible hairspray?

How much worse off was laid bare by the New York Times, revealing “Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in the year he won the presidency, and in his first year in the White House he paid another $750. The Times said Trump paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years, largely because he reported losing much more money than he made … the records revealed ‘chronic losses and years of tax avoidance’”.

At least Bozo pays his taxes. Not The Donald. As the Guardian has reported, “In the US, people who derive their income from company dividends rather than salary only pay tax when the company records a profit and pays a dividend”. As Richard Murphy put it, “Trump is not a successful business person, at all. Instead he is an arch-manipulator of borrowed funds, using them to give the appearance of a successful business career when he is, in fact, simply accumulating debt that he might well be unable to repay”.

How much debt might that be? The NYT has asserted that “the president is personally responsible for more than $300m in loans, which will come due in the next four years”. The possibility of the President of the USA going bust - which, if Trump were re-elected, is a strong possibility - would be unthinkable. For anyone other than Trump.

And while many of his fans will brush off this latest series of revelations, blaming them on that mythical “swamp” which was going to get drained, but never does, some may stop and think. They value the sacrifices made by the military: Trump has dismissed those who serve as “losers” and “suckers” already. Now it has been revealed that his contribution to federal income tax, which is how the military is funded, has been minimal.

Full of hot air, and very little else

Worse, those natural Trump supporters are all for protecting the USA’s borders. This, too, is paid for out of federal income taxes. They applauded four years ago when he said that paying less tax made him “smart”. They might not be applauding now.

Even worse, the NYT story has blown apart the idea of Trump the successful businessman. He isn’t, and he hasn’t been: he took all that money his father left him and effectively sprayed it up the wall. His desperation is such that campaign events harvest data from supporters in order to get them to part with money for merchandise - and cash donations. Small wonder Piers Morgan has been silent on the matter.

What will be the effect on the Presidential race? As Anthony Zurcher of the BBC has observed, “The Times story … is yet another unwanted distraction for the president. Every day spent on it is one the Trump campaign can't focus on changing the dynamic in a race that appears tilted against him”. So he’s going to get even more paranoid.

Our PM is only pretending to be skint. The US President really is - he’s stony broke.

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Laurence Fox - The Pointless Party

Are there too few political parties offering themselves to the electorate right now? Voters are already able to choose not merely between Labour, Tory and Lib Dem, but also Green, the Brexit Party, parties local to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as single issue candidates that rock up to General Elections and by-elections. But minor thesp Laurence Fox thinks we need one more, led by Himself Personally Now.

Who needs another ignorant bigot on the political scene? The idea is pointless. Not only that, Fox’s new pointless party is going to focus on a pointless target - culture wars. A subject invented by right-wingers to justify a further lurch to the right. Worse, Fox’s party will have a pointless name - it will be called Reclaim.

A name that conjures up memories of arriving back at a UK airport in the dead cold of night after a flight preceded by hours of queues and waits, wanting to be somewhere else - like home in bed - while watching a baggage carousel groaning and squeaking round and round, hoping - usually in vain - that your hold baggage will appear in the next few minutes so you can drowsily stumble out towards the long stay car park.

How serious is Fox about this waste of time and someone else’s money? The Mail, which has lifted the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph’s story from yesterday (paywalls, eh? Super effective they are), gives the impression he is. “The actor, 42, has received £5million for the tentatively named Reclaim party”. No, he claims he has.

But do go on. “His aim include reforming the BBC and celebrating Britain's culture contribution”. Right-winger whining that the Beeb fails to serve up right-wing news No Shock Horror. Any more snippets? “The Lewis star hopes to launch next month and stand dozens of candidates”. Lewis? The series that ended for good five years ago?

Reclaim. Yeah, snappy name

Note also that he “hopes to launch”. Does he have a USP to put before an expectant public? You’ll love this: “he wants to provide a movement for people who are 'tired of being told that we represent the very thing we have, in history, stood together against’”. Meaning what, exactly? Apart from admitting that he’s good at racism and white privilege.

His party website goes on to claim “Over many years it has become clear that our politicians have lost touch with the people they represent and govern. Moreover, our public institutions now work to an agenda beyond their main purpose”. So that’s a baseless claim to be in touch with those ordinary people he rarely meets, and more BBC bashing.

He goes on to tell “Our modern United Kingdom was born out of the respectful inclusion of so many individual voices … We can reclaim a respectful nation where all are included”. Has he seen the racist abuse his “respectful” target voters hurl at the likes of Sadiq Khan, Diane Abbott, David Lammy, and indeed the Duchess of Sussex?

In any case, we can see what his target audience is from those who are cheering him on: inept form-filler Darren Grimes, the loathsome Toby Young, who used a Politics Live appearance to whine about non-existent “anti-white racism”, and self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Dooda. Respectful my arse. Intolerant right, more like.

Pencil in the date next year for Reclaim’s first birthday party. If there is one.

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Guido Promotes Anti-Semitism - AGAIN

In the Tories’ campaign to paint former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as anti-Semitic, there was no greater ally of the cause than the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. Whenever a gratuitous smear was required, The Great Guido was ready and willing to oblige. But here a problem entered: the Fawkes massive was no stranger to dabbling in anti-Semitism themselves, a weakness that endures.

Behold the great arbiter of truth and decency

They had already veered across the anti-Semitism line in no style at all in their attacks on Corbyn’s predecessor Ed Miliband, as Zelo Street has detailed previously. Staines was publicly sympathetic to disgraced former Tory MP Aidan Burley, who left the stage after being caught by the Mail on Sunday participating in a Nazi-themed stag party.

And the anti-Semitism continued into this year, as replacement teaboy Tom Harwood sided with actual Nazis against a Jewish Labour MP. Now it has happened again: after chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings and his pals briefed the Murdoch Sunday Times that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was going to appoint former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre as head of Ofcom, off they went.

Under the heading “Dacre Wants ‘Wonderful’ BBC Saved”, readers were toldDacre’s Agenda: Save The BBC From ‘Cultural Marxism’”. Whoops, anti-Semitism! The phrase “Cultural Marxism” is loaded: it has its roots in the “KulturBolshewismus”, or Cultural Bolshevism, invented by Joseph Goebbels. He claimed that this was part of a conspiracy to undermine, or morally weaken, German society.

That it is an anti-Semitic trope is well known, especially in view of Suella Braverman, now elevated to Attorney General, using the phrase to demonise the left. Her use of the conspiracy theory was condemned by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and organisations like Hope Not Hate, as well as many of her fellow MPs.

What's f***ing anti-Semitic about that phrase, c***?!?!?

So the Fawkes rabble has no excuses: not only is that phrase loaded, its origins as an anti-Semitic trope are so well known that even the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre might nowadays avoid it. After all, The Great Guido is quoting from what he said 13 years ago: “Dacre outlined the problems at the BBC in his Cudlipp lecture of 2007. He focused on the problem of BBC bias and the exercising of ‘cultural Marxism’ in which it tries to undermine society. He identified the inherent statist bias of the public sector broadcaster”.

This is total horseshit: if there is one body that has worked tirelessly to undermine society, and especially its institutions, it has been the paper that Dacre edited. It was during his time in the editor’s chair that the Daily Mail called the judiciary “Enemies of the people”.

Moreover, his Cudlipp lecture was no more than a recycling of Dacre’s paranoid views: the BBC was “metropolitan” (meaningless), it was “liberal” (used as a smear, a cheap insult), it was “left-wing” (anything looks left wing from Dacre’s perspective), it had more journalists than all the national daily papers put together (says an editor who wasted millions on judgmental pundits, rather than doing proper investigative journalism).

But good to see the Fawkes mob prepared to support not just Dacre’s ranting, but the part of it where he indulges in anti-Semitism. Another fine mess, once again.

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Sunday 27 September 2020

False Positive Scare BUSTED

Aided and abetted by self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Dooda, Michael Yeadon, formerly employed by Pfizer, really got on his high horse last week on the subject of “False Positive” Covid-19 test results. High enough to demand resignations: “I have never done anything like this in my life. I’ve played no role in politics beyond voting. I didn’t pick this fight” he pleaded, as he set out his stall to call out others.

Those centrally involved in this can no longer be trusted to provide accurate, reliable information. This isn’t an accident … Those involved have no defence at all. So today I am calling the following to resign their roles or immediately to recuse themselves from any role whatsoever in management of this pandemic”. Oh? Who might he have had in mind?

Mr Hancock, Health Sec; Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Advisor; Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer; Prof Neil Ferguson, Imperial College (in all capacities including modelling of pandemics & vaccine requirements)”. This stance drew in others, such as Alex Berenson: “This is technical but I wanted to point it out for anyone who wants a longer read - it's from a former top scientist at [Pfizer] so Team Apocalypse can't dismiss it”.

And Brexit Party Chair Richard Tice, who claimed “[Matt Hancock] telling huge untruths to nation, either knowingly or more likely through stupidity. Supposed cases are 90% likely false positives; he doesn’t understand the calculation. To [sic] embarrassing to admit, so will refute. Ask your MP”. And John “live long and prosper” Redwood: “When will the government‘s scientific advisers tell us about the accuracy of the tests and how many false positives they think there are?” Then came the supposedly reputable press.

Although this did mean the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine, demanding to know “How many Covid diagnoses are false positives?” To which the answer is probably “none”, because a test result and a diagnosis are two different things.

But the wacko fringe was off and running, such as Kate Shemirani (“natural nurse in a toxic world”), who claimed erroneously “The tests are false positives, picking up our own fragments of DNA, masks do not stop virus transmission. No science! Yet we have a ‘Doctor’ ... I use that title loosely, calling for both. He is in breach of the Terrorism Act 2006, Part1. Criminal”. The dog lovers were not far behind.

And one of them claimed “So it’s official, Dominic Raab states that PCR test has a very high rate of false positives! So many that only 7 percent of people tested will actually have coronavirus! This test is being used to rule our lives!” Wibble. Hatstand. But Michael Yeadon had an admission to make. “While I’ve not run this kind of test, I have been a lab worker in & later supervised high volume testing”. Oh, HELLO?

Former Telegraph man Tom Chivers, meanwhile, has written a pice for UnHerd which bears careful scrutiny. His one-line summary? “Sceptics who talk up 'false positives' are engaging in wishful thinking … On the ‘false positives on Covid tests mean that there's no evidence of a second wave’ theory … and why that is, I'm afraid, flat wrong”.

Also, Chris York at the HuffPost has told readersNo, 90% Of Coronavirus Tests Are Not 'False Positives' And This Is Why … Experts explain why a theory doing the rounds about the number of people wrongly diagnosed with Covid-19 is simply not true”.

Moreover, the ONS has produced an explainer which sets out the reasons why the “False Positives” idea does not hold water, telling “The percentage of individuals reporting no symptoms among those testing positive has remained stable over time despite substantial declines in the overall number of positives. If false-positives were high, the percentage of individuals not reporting symptoms among those testing positive would increase when the true prevalence is declining”. So it may be a thing, but not the kind of thing some believe.

Will we get a retraction from Michael Yeadon, his #1 fan Ms Hartley Dooda, the loathsome Toby Young, and all those at the Spectator? But you know the answer to that one. Their claims will be quietly dropped in the hope that no-one notices. But they have noticed.

The responsibility on those in charge of the broadcast megaphone not to shout “Fire” in a crowded theatre was never clearer. It’s a pity that the usual suspects have shirked it.

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